Hawkman and Hawkgirl “are like an old married couple”

Falk Hentschel on how the Arrow/Flash crossover leads to Legends Of Tomorrow

First appearing in The Flash episode ‘Legends Of Today’ and Arrow episode ‘Legends Of Yesterday’, Hawkman (played by Falk Hentschel) is the latest big-name DC superhero to show up in The CW-verse, leading to his teaming up with a number of other characters in Legends Of Tomorrow. We spoke to Hentschel about what to expect…

Can you tell us a bit about Hawkman?
Hawkman is reincarnated and sort of bonded to Kendra Saunders, aka Hawkgirl. He’s been chasing her down, trying to tell her that he loves her, like he’s been doing for the last 4,000 years.

What kind of dynamic is there between Hawkman and Hawkgirl? Judging by what we’ve seen in previews, the relationship between the pair seems a little up and down.
Yeah it is, that’s what I felt was the really fun part. They are like a bickering old couple – that’s the best way to describe them. He is just very convinced that she will fall in love with him, because that’s what she’s done the last 200 times. She is always saying, “I don’t know who you are, you kind of sound like a crazy person!”, so it’s a really fun dynamic of trying to win her over and trying to explain to her who she is. She’s always pushing against that, because of her own free will, and she needs to figure out whether this is real or not.

How does Hawkman become involved in the main plot?
He tracks down Kendra Saunders – he sweeps her off her feet, quite literally – and lays it all out there. He doesn’t really have time to romance her, he’s just like, “This is who I am, you will believe me eventually, you’ll love me and it’s all good”, and she doesn’t quite agree with that [laughs].

How did you become involved with The Flash and Arrow?
We discussed the offer of playing the character – that was for Legends Of Tomorrow – and with that came the introduction in the crossover. They made it clear that they would like to introduce the character in these shows, and that’s how I got involved! It was a package thing – similar to how Barry Allen was introduced in Arrow.

Were you familiar with either Arrow or The Flash before being cast?
I knew they existed, and I’d seen some of them, but I wasn’t too familiar with them. I had to go back and get familiar with the tone, but I was familiar with the comics – I was a big fan of the comics as a kid, so I was very familiar with the character.

There are a lot of different portrayals of Hawkman in both the comics and TV. Did you base your performance on any particular portrayal?
The core of the character that had me most excited was his whole back story of the reincarnation; the fact that he has seen all of civilisation grow up. He’s kind of like the uncle to civilisation, because he’s seen the mistakes that have happened, and the good things while society has evolved. Through that he has always been tethered to the love of his life times multiples. I thought that was really interesting, and also his attitude to it all: how are you when you’ve been alive for 4,000 years? Are you relaxed about it, or frustrated? There’s a really interesting character there.

Hentschel with the rest of the Legends Of Tomorrow cast

Is working with an ensemble on a show like Legends Of Tomorrow more fun for you as an actor?
Oh yeah, it’s a lovely cast. The challenge of it is you have nine people in many scenes where you’re just like, “Wow, there’s a lot of us, there’s a lot of shooting that we have to cover,” and it was just a really exciting roller coaster ride to get it all done.

A lot of the Legends Of Tomorrow group aren’t exactly team players. How does Hawkman fit into that dynamic?
He plays along. They unite for a greater cause… there are a couple of things going on that we haven’t fully explored yet, but we’re hinting that he is a lone wolf, but at the same time he’s probably fought alongside Alexander the Great, and he’s met many people that he’s teamed up with that we haven’t discovered yet. He’s definitely used to being the boss, but I think he’s forced to team-play in Legends.

What was the most fun part of filming?
I really enjoyed all the pieces that brought alive the relationship with Ciara and all the complications that came with it, and obviously I enjoyed hanging off a wire and being able to actually fly – we did a lot of practical flying versus CGI flying – which is a boy’s dream come true. That was a big excitement for me, to be able to do that!

What aspect of the show are you most looking forward to people seeing?
Numerous things, but I hope that the audience connects to the love story and the difficulties that come with it. I hope they get a kick out of the action obviously – it’s going to be so action-packed, and getting to see these 8 very different superheroes with very different powers come to life. I think it’s going to be a spectacle, and that hasn’t quite been done on TV before as far as the scope goes – I really hope that the audience enjoys it as much as we did making it.

Legends Of Tomorrow will air on Sky1 in 2016. You can find out more about the characters and the comics that inspired them by picking up the latest edition of 100 All-Time Greatest Comics.